Tonsillectomy under local anesthesia: A safe and effective alternative

James K. Bredenkamp, Elliot Abemayor, Phillip A. Wackym, Paul H. Ward

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Tonsillectomy using local anesthesia (local tonsillectomy) is a safe and effective alternative to general anesthesia in the healthy cooperative teenage or adult patient. This retrospective analysis involved 64 local tonsillectomies performed over the past 7 years in a minor operating room using only local anesthesia with intravenous sedation. Operations were performed by residents in training as well as by experienced head and neck surgeons. Blood loss, morbidity, complications, and patient satisfaction were reviewed and compared with tonsillectomies done under general anesthesia. The average blood loss was 42 mL in the local tonsillectomy group with no cases of postoperative hemorrhage, compared with 198 mL in the general anesthesia group with two cases of postoperative hemorrhage. There was one major complication related to postoperative antibiotic use in the local anesthesia group, and follow-up interviews revealed that patients were satisfied with the procedure and would recommend and choose local anesthesia again. We conclude that local tonsillectomies have high patient acceptance and are associated with minimal morbidity and complications. Furthermore, they are cost-effective.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)18-22
Number of pages5
JournalAmerican Journal of Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Medicine and Surgery
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1990

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Otorhinolaryngology


  • local anesthesia
  • tonsillectomy


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